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By Islamic Human Rights Commission
Gujarat massacre verdict should not be an excuse to let Modi off the hook
IHRC believes that there is sufficient evidence to implicate Modi and his administration for stoking the 2002 bloodshed or at least standing by while Muslims were mercilessly killed The conviction last month in India of 24 Hindus for one of a series of massacres of Muslims in 2002, while welcome, should not be used as an excuse to draw a line under the violence and should be a platform for bringing those who stoked and presided over the violence. Some 69 people were hacked or burned to death after a Hindu mob stormed the Gulberg Society Muslim housing estate in Ahmedabad in the state of Gujarat in mistaken retribution for a train fire that killed dozens of Hindu pilgrims. The fire was blamed on Muslims but later
found to have been accidentally ignited. Indian PM Narendra Modi had just become chief minister of Gujarat at the time and together with members of his administration has been accused of fomenting the antiMuslim attacks. Immediately after the train fire Modi declared that the Pakistani secret services had been to blame, he then had the charred bodies paraded in the main city of Ahmedabad and let his own party support a state-wide strike for three days. What followed was inevitable. At least 1000 but maybe even 2000 people were killed as Hindu mobs rampaged through Gujarat. The vast majority of those who died were Muslim. Mobs of men dragged
women and young girls out of their homes and raped them. Last year, the home ministry fired Sanjiv Bhatt, a senior police officer who had told an investigation that Mr Modi had said Muslims should be “taught a lesson” and Hindus allowed to “vent out their anger”. IHRC is disappointed that the Supreme Court acquitted Bipin Patel, a prominent local politician of Mr Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party, as well as a Congress politician and a retired senior police officer. Like many in India, IHRC believes that there is sufficient evidence to implicate Modi and his administration for stoking the 2002 bloodshed or at least standing by while Muslims were mercilessly killed.
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I July 2016
Forced marriage victims to have lifelong media anonymity Victims and alleged victims of forced marriage are to be given lifelong anonymity, the Government has said. The measure, being introduced through an amendment to the Policing and Crime Bill which was tabled on 7 May, will apply to all victims of forced marriage in England and Wales. The move is intended to encourage victims to come forward in an effort to increase the number of prosecutions for the crime. It is believed that so far there has been only one conviction for the new offence of forced marriage, which came into force in the summer of 2014. Karen Bradley, minister for Preventing Abuse, Exploitation and Crime, said: “Forced marriage is an abhorrent practice that can destroy lives. “It takes great courage for those subjected to this crime to speak out, especially as it is often committed by the very people they love and trust, and we need to do all we can to give them the support they need.
“Lifelong anonymity will give more victims the confidence to come forward and seek justice.” The new provisions, which will give victims anonymity from the time an allegation of forced marriage is made, are modeled on the anonymity already in place for sex offence victims and victims of female genital mutilation. A Home Office spokeswoman said: “This provision is specifically aimed at protecting the identity of (alleged or proven) victims of forced marriage from the point of investigation onwards. It does not prohibit the reporting of forced marriage prosecution cases by the media.” The anonymity would cover both names and photographs as well as any other information which – on its own or combined with other material – would be likely to result in a victim
being identified. The publication ban will cover traditional print and broadcast media but also social media, including Twitter and Facebook. It will also allow victims to surrender their anonymity – which they will have to do in writing, and must be over the age of 16 – or allow a court to lift the anonymity under the same conditions as those which apply in relation to anonymity for sex offence victims.
I UK NEWS
I July 2016
Moazzam Begg sues Government after terrorism trial collapse
Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg has gone to the High Court in a battle for government compensation after his terrorism trial dramatically collapsed. Anti-terrorism laws were used to freeze the Birmingham campaigner’s assets before he was cleared of seven terrorism charges in October 2014. And now his legal team say HM Treasury should pay for the financial losses and inconvenience he endured. Mr Begg, insists he has “never been involved in terrorist-related activity” and that the “unnecessary” freezing order violated his human rights. He was held at the notorious US
base in Cuba between 2002 and 2005 and was never charged with any offence. But he was arrested by West Midlands Police in February 2014 and charged with the terrorism offences. He was accused of attending a terrorist training camp in Syria in 2013 and of arranging delivery of a generator to the war-torn country. His assets were frozen - with “drastic consequences” for Mr Begg - and he was remanded in custody for seven months to await trial. But in October 2014, the CPS made the shock announcement that the charges had been dropped. He was acquitted and freed as a senior West Midlands Police officer
told the press on the steps of the Old Bailey that he was “innocent”. The very next day, his lawyers demanded that the freezing order be overturned on the basis that it should never have been made. However, the Treasury - whilst accepting that the order should be “revoked” - refused to “quash” it, a crucial distinction when it comes to compensation. Government lawyers said they had their reasons for the decision - but refused to disclose what they were, a senior judge said. Mr Begg, who is not entitled to legal aid, is now challenging the decision in a case which it is estimated will cost more than £300,000. His legal team is representing him on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis, but Mr Begg says his access to justice could be stymied by the crushing legal costs he would face if he loses. The Master of the Rolls, Lord Dyson, directed the High Court to consider whether he should be granted special protection against having to pay Treasury lawyers’ bills. If Mr Begg succeeds in proving that the freezing of his assets breached his human rights, he could be in line for substantial compensation.
Real spirit of Ramadan observed Madina Masjid in Mount Pleasant, Batley opened up its doors to the wider community during the holy month of Ramadan. Madina Masjid wanted the wider community to sample the real spirit of Ramadhan by actually sitting in on the daily spiritual sermon. Ramadan, which started on 6th June marks the ninth month of the Muslim lunar calendar and it commemorates the month in which the Quran was first revealed to Prophet Muhammed and is the holiest month for Muslims. Its observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam,where Muslims will abstain from food and
drink from sunrise till sunset. Mosque vice chair Yunus Lunat said “This is a natural progression that was broached by the Committee at the Open Mosque event which was received favourably. We would hope that events such as this will continue to help demystify the workings and proceedings of a Mosque and demonstrate that
the message of the sermon is no different from the sermons in any other place of worship”
I July 2016
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I July 2016
Michael Fallon pays damages to Imam Suliman Gani In Case You Missed It
The defence secretary, Michael Fallon, has agreed to pay damages to an imam after repeating false claims that he was a supporter of Islamic State. Imam Suliman Gani found himself at the centre of a storm during the recent London mayoral election campaign when senior Conservatives including the prime minister questioned the judgment of the Labour candidate, Sadiq Khan, for sharing a platform with him nine times. David Cameron even suggested in the House of Commons that Gani supported Isis – something the imam fervently denied. After Fallon made a similar claim in a BBC interview on 7 May – where, unlike Cameron in the Commons, he was not covered by parliamentary privilege – Gani began legal action. Fallon withdrew the claim and apologised, as did the prime minister. But Gani pressed ahead with the case, and it has emerged that it was settled last month. Fallon agreed to pay compensation and legal costs, thought to amount to several thousand pounds. In a statement published on his website, Fallon said: “I accept that you are entirely opposed to Daesh/ Islamic State, that you regard it as
incompatible with your religious and moral beliefs, and that you have spoken out publicly against it. “I repeat my apology for the error that I made and for the distress that it caused to you and your family. In recognition of that distress I have agreed to make a payment of compensation and to meet your reasonable legal costs.” Imam Suliman Gani in a staement said “Two months after the BBC’s Andrew Neil made accusations against me as being an ISIS sympathiser, which was then repeated by the Prime Minister under the cover of Parliamentary privilege, my life has been turned upside down. Immediately after the accusations, newspapers and media outlets began hounding me and experts ‘popped’ up to instil fear into the British public regarding me and Islam in general. As a result of the accusations, I was suspended from my employment. My strenuous denials were not believed by some, who believed the accusations were true. These accusations were repeated on 7 May by Defence Secretary Michael Fallon in public and by one other MP. I was viewed with much suspicion by people who knew me and not only became a victim of a whispering campaign but also endured abuse from random
strangers who shouted at me in public and intimidated me as a result of these slanderous allegations. I felt afraid to go out in public even with my family in case I was attacked and more so, my family were as well. After advice and help from my family, friends and colleagues, I sought legal advice to clear my name. Finally, after two months of social and mental torture, Mr Fallon has accepted his error, apologised and has offered to make a financial compensation. I am grateful to all my friends, colleagues and all of those who I have never met yet who have supported me through this vicious ordeal. It has been extremely devastating on my personality and person. Finally, while I welcome the apology it is imperative that people in public positions verify their facts before making accusations – which leads to catastrophic consequences on innocent individuals. And it is to my family, friends, colleagues and faith leaders who stood by me, despite the serious accusations, that I am forever grateful.
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I July 2016
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I July 2016
Four years of investigation but no-one will be charged over rendition claims
A man who claims he was forcibly returned to Libya with the help of British authorities said he is disappointed at the news no-one is to be charged following a four-year investigation. Despite being presented with more than 28,000 pages of evidence by police looking at whether officials in Britain were complicit in the rendition of two families who were unlawfully detained in Libya, the Crown Prosecution Service said there is “insufficient” evidence to charge anyone. Abdel Hakim Belhadj and Sami al-Saadi, along with members of their families, were kidnapped and sent to face punishment in Libya in 2004.
Mr Belhadj, a key military figure in the uprising that toppled dictator Muammar Gaddafi, was living in exile in Beijing, China, but was detained with his wife en route to the UK where they were trying to seek asylum. He accused former foreign secretary Jack Straw and an exsenior MI6 officer, Sir Mark Allen, of being responsible for his rendition, alongside his pregnant wife, from Thailand to Libya. Following the CPS announcement Mr Belhadj told the BBC: “I am very disappointed that individuals responsible will not be prosecuted. If there is political interference with the courts then it undermines British
justice.” Sue Hemming, head of the CPS’s Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, said: “Following a thorough investigation, the CPS has decided that there is insufficient evidence to charge the suspect with any criminal offence. “We made our decision based upon all the available admissible evidence and after weighing up all of the information we have been provided with.” The Metropolitan Police, who had worked on the probe named Operation Lydd since it began in 2012, said a specialist team of detectives had conducted a “thorough and penetrating investigation”. In a statement they said: “A comprehensive file of evidence in excess of 28,000 pages was presented to the CPS on 12 June 2014. Subsequent to that submission a number of additional documents have been provided in response to CPS requests. “It is entirely a matter for the CPS to decide on whether a case goes forward to prosecution. They have now concluded that there is insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction against any individual in this matter.” www.pi-media.co.uk
90% of Brits believe Government surveillance powers not acceptable A new poll commissioned by Liberty has revealed nine out of 10 British adults believe state surveillance powers proposed by the Investigatory Powers Bill are not acceptable. Ninety per cent of the public either say it is only acceptable for the Government to access and monitor records of their emails, text messages, phone calls and online browsing history if they are suspected of or have committed a crime – or say this practice is never acceptable. Liberty believes that targeted access to communications data based on suspicion, with a robust system of independent judicial
oversight, is important in preventing and detecting serious crime. The results come out as MPs prepare to debate the new Snoopers’ Charter in the Commons. The Bill would force telecoms companies and internet service providers to store every person’s communications data – records of calls, texts and web activity – and entire internet browsing history for a year. This data could then be accessed by dozens of public bodies with no need for suspicion of criminality. Just eight per cent of those polled believed that it would be acceptable
for the Government to access and monitor records of emails, text messages, phone calls and online browsing history in all circumstances, whether or not someone has committed or is suspected of committing a crime. The polling also exposes a lack of public awareness of the legislation, currently being rushed through Parliament, which will grant these and many other even more intrusive mass surveillance powers. Seventy-two per cent of those polled say they have either never heard of the Bill, or know nothing about it.
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I July 2016
‘UK developing new nuclear warhead’
I July 2016
The UK has been secretly upgrading its arsenal of Trident nuclear weapons and is working on a new warhead, a report shows. The UK Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) is running a program to produce a more powerful and accurate nuclear warhead called the “Mark4A,” the Nuclear Information Service (NIS), a Londonbased research body, reported. The Mark 4A warhead program is running in tandem with a US program that seeks to improve the performance of the W76 warhead and extend its operational lifetime, the NIS says. A joint working group of British and American experts has also been established to allow collaboration
on the program, and new warheads have been tested at Sandia National Laboratories in the US. “The Mark 4A warhead modification program will allow Trident nuclear warheads to remain in service until the middle of this century, and plenty of money is being spent to pave the way for developing a new generation warhead which will remain in service for even longer,” said Peter Burt, a research manager with the NIS. The British Parliament has been kept in the dark about the upgrade program’s cost and timetables, according to the report. The existence of the program has been confirmed in a July 2014 letter by the Ministry of Defense, where
Jon Thompson, then top civil servant at the Ministry of Defense, confirms Dr. Paul Hollinshead’s appointment as the senior official responsible for the “nuclear warhead capability sustainment program.” Hollinshead was also put in charge of “commencement of Mk4A production in accordance with the Trident Manufacture Plan,” the letter shows. The report revealed that AWE’s design studies for the new warhead have already cost British taxpayers nearly £85 million. The government put the cost at £31bn, but has set aside a £10bn contingency fund in the event of overruns. So far the Ministry of Defense has refused to disclose the Trident program’s overall cost on the grounds that it is classified. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, however, has estimated that it will cost at least £205 billion. “The government is committed to maintaining minimum continuous at-sea deterrence to deter the most extreme threats to the UK and to protect our vital interests; a decision on replacing the warhead will be taken when necessary,” said a ministry spokesperson.
The Home Office plans to commission a series of telephone polls to survey British Muslims’ attitudes towards extremist ideas and ideologies, BuzzFeed News has learned. Ministers hope that the polling will not only measure respondents’ existing views but also allow them to track the effectiveness of counterextremism initiatives such as the controversial Prevent programme. But Muslim leaders voiced concerns that the polling reinforced the notion that the Muslim community was suspect, and said sampling difficulties meant the results could be
“plain wrong”. The Home Office has confirmed the plans, although a spokesperson said it would not comment on costs. BuzzFeed News understands the government will spend “about £1 million” on the polls. The polling is part of a broader counter-extremism strategy, set out in a document published at the end of last year, that covers all forms of extremism, including that of the far right. In the document the government said its approach “will always be informed by an understanding of the
way extremists work, their ideologies and the harm they cause”. As part of its strategy, the government said it would further strengthen the existing evidence base by commissioning and part-funding research, and working with academics and universities. Other stakeholders include the recently established Extremism Analysis Unit, which has been tasked to support government departments and the wider public sector to understand extremism issues, and the MI5-led Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC).
UK Government to spend £1 million polling British Muslims on extremism
Leicester win Court review over boycotting produce from Israel
I UK NEWS
Continued from front page
Leicester City Council has won its landmark High Court review over boycotting produce from illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. In November last year, Leicester city councillors voted not to procure services from illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. The motion faced High Court review after a complaint was filed by the Jewish Human Rights Watch (JHRW), who claimed the decision was anti-semitic. The argument put forward by JHRW was that the motion is antiSemitic and would cause division between communities. The politically motivated campaign to link BDS with anti-semitism came following many similar claims by high ranking Israeli
officials. The accusation was strenuously denied by the council, as it continues to be denied by those who support BDS as a means to end the illegal and inhumane Israeli occupation. Andrew Sharland, representing the councils, said that the motion passed by the councils was an exercise of their right to freedom of expression protected by both the common law and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Judges also ruled in favour of other councils in Swansea and Gwynedd which announced similar boycotts and were defendants in the case. Friends of Al Aqsa (FOA) spoke
I July 2016
to Councillor Mohammed Dawood earlier this year about the motion and he told us that: “we put forward a motion not to procure services from illegally Occupied Territories as apposed to the Israeli state. At the end of the day, it is being illegally occupied so we aren’t doing anything wrong. We should be doing something to support the Palestinians and so the motion was put forward.” The involvement of local councils in global causes is nothing new, as during apartheid in South Africa local councils similarly use their positions to defend peace and justice. They continue to play an important role in protecting human rights and promoting social justice. “This is a momentous day for the Leicester City Council and a clear victory for the BDS movement. Despite the political pressure that has been mounting to ban the boycott, the High Court ruling reinforces the right of all local councils to take similar principled positions. This win is not only symbolic but it shows the popularity of the BDS movement, and it is a further indication that this movement is about human rights and justice for the Palestinian people.” – Ismail Patel, FOA Chairman.
Hate attacks all time high after Brexit: Report
British Muslims are facing an “explosion” in faith-based hate crimes, which will get much worse following the UK’s exit from the European Union (EU), a survey warns. Tell MAMA, an anti-Muslim hate monitoring group based in London, said in its annual report that Islamphobic incidents in the UK
increased by 326 percent last year, rising from 146 to 437 cases. The survey also found that British Muslim women who wear hijab are now in such grave danger that they fear to conduct “day to day activities.” The report showed that 61 percent of victims in the cases investigated by the organization
were women, of whom at least 75 percent were identified as Muslim. The Tell MAMA report added that the largest proportion of incidents involved perpetrators aged between 13 and 18, indicating a “radicalization” of teenagers and their lack of understanding for multiculturalism. www.pi-media.co.uk
I July 2016
UK Muslims run while fasting to raise funds for homeless www.pi-media.co.uk
Braving long summer hours without food and water, a group of British Muslims participated last month in the annual Mersey Tunnel 10k to raise funds for the homeless. “Alhamdulillah!! volunteers completed the Mersey Tunnel 10k whilst fasting,” Muslim Event in UK
page on Facebook reported. “It was brilliant to see the support of other fellow runners and event organizers, who were taken aback by their efforts.” In the 11th running of the event, More than 3,000 runners ran through the Wallasey Tunnel on their way
from Liverpool to New Brighton. Going underground and underwater, participants passed through the Wallasey tube of the road tunnel and eventually made their way to New Brighton. For Muslims, the run itself was not their biggest challenge. “Their challenge was NOT the run itself, rather they were trying to raise awareness and money for the disadvantaged and homeless in their city,” the FB page said. “It is from the teachings of Islam to help our neighbors and those who are less fortunate in our own communities. Homelessness is a real problem, we all see it and we must ALL do our bit to defeat it.” Britain is home to a Muslim community of nearly 2.8 million. In 2011, think tank Demo found that Muslims in the United Kingdom are more patriotic than the rest of population.
Halal range on AmazonFresh
Amazon Prime users living within nearly 70 postcodes across East and Central London can now buy products from the Haloodies range on Amazon.co.uk. Haloodies (Halal Foodies) is the Muslim-owned halal food brand aimed at millennial Muslims. Haloodies launched 16 lines with AmazonFresh in Central and East London. The new cooked chicken range
and fresh pack sizes cater for busy millennial Muslims who place a high value on convenience and quality. Mr Imran Kausar, Haloodies Co-Founder and Managing Director of KKR Halal Ltd, which owns the Haloodies brand, said “Our availability on AmazonFresh strengthens our proposition with our core customer group of millennial Muslims who are concerned about the general quality of halal products on the market and actively seek out a brand they can trust. As a 100% Muslim owned brand with a focus on quality and convenience, Haloodies can match those expectations.” AmazonFresh is available to
customers in 69 Central and East London postcodes. Amazon Prime members in eligible areas can now order their full weekly grocery shop from a range of over 130,000 competitively priced products including Britain’s best-loved brands and offerings from local food producers and shops based in worldfamous locations including Borough Market and Notting Hill. Customers benefit from fast and flexible delivery. One-hour delivery slots are available from 7am to 11pm, seven days a week, with same-day delivery available from 5pm for orders placed by 1pm. AmazonFresh is available via the Amazon.co.uk website. All perishable products have a guaranteed minimum shelf-life and, with Amazon’s Freshness Guarantee, customers can receive a refund if they are unhappy with the freshness of the products they receive.
I UK NEWS
I July 2016
Scottish police to add hijab uniform under diversity plan
Police Scotland is to introduce a hijab to its uniform in an effort to attract more Muslim women to a force which is failing to reflect the diversity in the country’s population. Currently, only 1 percent of Scotland’s police officers come from a black or minority background, compared with 4 percent of the general population. Ethnic minority communities
account for higher percentages in Scottish cities, such as Glasgow (12 percent), Edinburgh and Aberdeen (8 percent). The “sourced and tested” hijab was announced by the Scottish Police Authority at a public meeting in Glasgow as part of their Work Force Diversity Strategy, aiming to encourage “people from underrepresented groups to consider
policing as a career.” “This prototype will now be presented to the Uniform Standards Working Group for their consideration,” the police document states. Peter Blair, head of resource management at Police Scotland, said the move aims to tackle “unnecessary barriers” affecting recruitment and hoped to replicate good practice seen among other police bodies around the world, the Scotsman reports. Currently, female officers wishing to wear a headscarf have to seek permission from their line manager, who will most likely be a white male in an organization where only one fifth of promoted posts are filled by women. Of the 17,000 Police Scotland officers, only 175 identify as black, Asian or minority. Wionly 127 (2.6 percent) of applicants last year from non-white ethnic backgrounds, the force will need to recruit 650 to better reflect diversity in the country’s population.
Figures reveal May has deprived 33 individuals of British citizenship In 2015 Home Secretary Theresa May deprived five people of their British citizenship on terror related grounds, according to new figures obtained by the Bureau a online news portal. In total May has stripped 33 individuals of British nationality on these grounds since becoming Home Secretary in 2010. All of the individuals were dual nationals. May can strip a person of citizenship without prior approval from a judge or parliament, and the individual’s only recourse is to quickly launch a long and costly appeal in the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, a specialist court in London which deals with
evidence deemed so sensitive to national security that it is heard in secret. The Bureau has been tracking the Government’s use of citizenship stripping for more than three years, and these new figures come following a 16-month freedom of information battle with the Home Office. Most of the individuals the Bureau has identified were deprived of citizenship while abroad. This effectively excludes them from the country – in fact, May often signs an exclusion order at the same time as the deprivation order – so forcing them to appeal against May’s decision from countries like
Sudan and Pakistan, from where communication with their lawyers can be difficult. All 33 individuals were deprived of their citizenship because it was ‘conducive to the public good’ to do so. This usually means the person is suspected of terror related activity, but can also include people suspected of espionage and war crimes. May can also strip someone of their British citizenship if they obtained it by way of fraud or lying – since 2010, 37 individuals have been deprived on these grounds. In total, 70 people have been stripped of their British citizenship under May, all of them dual nationals.
Mediterranean refugee deaths for 2016 near 3,000
I July 2016
Mediterranean arrivals in Europe this year so far top 200,000, as the death toll from refugee sea journeys nears 3,000 and African refugees are traveling via Italy in the wake of the EU-Turkey deal, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said. “Deaths so far this year are 2,809,
compared with 1,838 through the first six months of 2015,” IOM spokesman Joel Millman told a press conference in Geneva. According to the group, 376 refugees died in the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece this year so far, and 2,427 refugees died while trying to reach Italy from North
Africa, particularly from Libya. Some 206,400 refugees arrived in Europe this year so far, with 156,782 of them reaching Greece from Turkey and 48,527 of them arriving in Italy, the IOM noted. Following the EU-Turkey deal on refugees reached this March, African refugees largely shifted to the Italy route, the deadliest in the Mediterranean. The EU-Turkey deal aims to discourage irregular migration through the Aegean by taking stricter measures against human smugglers and improving the conditions of Syrian refugees in Turkey. It also stipulated the acceleration of Turkey’s EU membership bid and visa-free travel for Turkish nationals within the Schengen area, on the condition that Ankara met 72 requirements set by the EU
Egypt’s ex-resident ‘Morsi’ given life in spying case An Egyptian court sentenced former Islamist president Mohamed Mursi to life in prison in an espionage trial in which six of his co-defendants were handed death penalties. The court acquitted Mursi of charges of having supplied Qatar with classified documents but sentenced him to life for leading an unlawful organization, his lawyer Abdel Moneim Abdel Maksoud told AFP. The ousted president was also convicted of having “stolen secret documents concerning state security” and handed another 15-year jail term, the lawyer added. Qatar was a main backer of Mursi and his Muslim Brotherhood movement while he was in power between 2012 and July 2013, when the military overthrew and detained
him. Mursi has been sentenced to death in a separate trial for his alleged role in prison breaks and attacks on police stations during the 2011 uprising that overthrew veteran strongman Hosni Mubarak. He has also received a life sentence and a 20-year jail term in two other trials. The court confirmed death sentences against six defendants, including three journalists tried in absentia who allegedly helped relay secret documents to Qatar. The journalists have been identified as Ibrahim Mohamed Hilal and Jordanian citizen Alaa Omar Mohamed Sablan, both of Qatarbased Al-Jazeera channel.
The third has been named as Asmaa Mohamed al-Khatib, a female reporter with pro-Muslim Brotherhood news outlet Rassd. The death sentences had been sent to the mufti -- Egypt’s official interpreter of Islamic law -- as Egyptian law requires his opinion on death sentences although his opinion is not binding. The verdicts can be appealed.
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New documents shed light on CIA torture 16
Details emerged of CIA torture techniques at overseas black site prisons, from newly declassified transcripts of detainees’ military hearings at the Guantanamo Bay Prison. “They shackle me completely, even my head; I can’t do anything,” Zayn al-Abidin Muhammed Hussein, a Saudi-born Palestinian also known as Abu Zubaida told the hearing in March 2007. “And they put one cloth in my mouth and they put water, water, water.” Zubaida was captured by CIA in 2002 in Pakistan and was held at a CIA prison in Thailand until he was transferred to the Guantanamo prison in 2006. “I tell him, ‘if you want to kill me, kill me,’” he said he told interrogators. Accused of being a senior leader of al-Qaeda, Zubaida told the hearing that he was a rank-and-file member of the militant group who helped the fighters travel to training camps in Afghanistan. Noting that when CIA agents realized they wrongly assessed Zibaida’s role, they apologized to him. “After that, all they said to me was, ‘Sorry, we made a big mistake.’” He was also been beaten and severely injured while at the site in Thailand, he said. “They didn’t care that I almost died from these injuries,” he said. “Doctors told me that I nearly died four times.”
He said he gave false information about al-Qaeda plots in order to stop the torture. The U.S. disclosed the documents in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and reported by The New York Times. Particulars of CIA torture techniques were made public in a Senate report in December 2014 that was a 500-page summary of a document that ran 6,000 pages. According to the Senate report Zubaida was the first detainee subjected to waterboarding and the notorious technique was performed 83 times on the detainee. He is still being held at Guantanamo Bay prison. Unlike the Senate report, which was based on government memorandums, the recent transcripts are first-hand accounts. The hearings recorded testimonies from six other prisoners, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. Mohammed presented himself as a “senior man” in al-Qaeda and admits to being an “enemy combatant” in the transcripts. To avoid torture, he said he admitted that he knew people whose pictures agents showed him although he did not know them. He said that after he was transferred to a CIA prison in a
I July 2016
country whose name was redacted in the transcript, he was penetrated with a suppository. “Every time I said I didn’t know they tortured me and dripped very cold water on my head when I was naked. They took me to another room and hung me from my hands and poured cold water on me while I was hung,” Mohammed said. Human Rights Watch sent a letter to President Barack Obama on Thursday urging him to take action before the end of his time in office to hold personnel accountability for CIA abuses. “The newly released documents underscore the brutality and illegality of the CIA program,” Laura Pitter, senior national security counsel at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement posted on the group’s website.
Dozens of Jewish settlers storm Al-Aqsa Mosque
51 Jewish settlers, including 27 students, broke into the plazas of the Aqsa Mosque under the protection of Israeli policemen who opened the Magharebah gate for their incursion. Quds Press revealed that the Aqsa guards forced Israeli policemen to get a settler out of the Aqsa after attempting to perform Talmudic rituals at the Muslims’ holy site. Israeli police have been allowing settlers to storm the Aqsa Mosque during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan. According to statistical reports conducted by Quds Press, 562 Jewish settlers have stormed the Aqsa since Ramadan started two weeks ago including soldiers, settlers, and students.
I July 2016
South Africa’s newest party headed by Turkish expat www.pi-media.co.uk
South Africa’s newest political party, Al-Shura, is being led into the country’s municipal elections in August this year by a Turkish expat. The social conservative party consists mainly of activists with growing concerns over rising unemployment, increasing crime rates and what it describes as a continuous lack of service delivery. In an interview , Turkish dual citizen Mehmet Vefa Dag, 42, said: “Due to non-service deliveries … that communities are not receiving, we felt that a new political party was needed for the South African people.” “We promise to deliver solutions to all communities when elected,” he added.
Established in April, the party derives its name from Surat al-Shura in the Quran -- the Muslim holy book -- meaning ‘mutual consultation’. Despite the Islamic reference, AlShura is also attracting non-Muslims from various ethnic groups according to party secretary, Abdurageem Abduraof in an interview with a local radio station. However, due to late registration, Al-Shura will only be able to compete in the Cape Town metro area in the upcoming municipal elections. However, party members are convinced that they will make gains in all 116 wards. Dag, born in eastern Turkey and raised in Istanbul, said the party
Israel’s national water company has cut crucial water supplies to large areas of the occupied West Bank, leaving tens of thousands of Palestinians without access to safe drinking water during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Mekorot, the main supplier of water to Palestinian towns and cities, siphoned off water supplies to the municipality of Jenin, several Nablus villages and the city of Salfit and its surrounding villages.
Ayman Rabi, the executive director of the Palestinian Hydrology Group, was quoted as saying to Al Jazeera that in some areas, people had not received water for more than 40 days. “People are relying on purchasing water from water trucks or finding it from alternative sources such as springs and other filling points in their vicinity,” he said. “Families are having to live on two, three or 10 liters per capita per day,” he added.
would establish national offices within next year to provide grounds on which to compete in South Africa’s 2019 national and provincial elections. “South Africa’s economy is shrinking and we can’t wait any longer for solutions from broken national promises. It is time to bring happiness back on people’s faces,” said Dag. If the party wins, it says it aims to transform Cape Town into a world business and communications hub. Al-Shura also firmly believes that crime will be heavily reduced through job creation. Vefa Dag states that many people live in impoverished areas, earning less than R2,000 ($130) a month while those in some neighboring suburbs earn about R20,000 ($1,300) a month. “Our main focus is to stop economic division between communities and give human dignity to each person,” he said. “We have already gone to poverty stricken and gang-controlled lands like Mannenberg, Hannover Park, Lavender Hill and Parkwood. These communities need our support. They are no longer alone, as we are a party they can trust in,” Dag said.
Israel cuts off water to Palestinians in Ramadan
The United Nations has said an average person would need to consume 7.5 liters of water per day. The Israeli move to cut water supplies comes as summer heat waves have shot the mercury up to 35 degrees Celsius at some places across the occupied territories. Jenin Mayor Ragheb Al Haj Hassan said that the water had been cut off without prior notice. “Residents suffer badly in this hot weather and at this time of Ramadan.”
US has no strategy in Libya
I WORLD NEWS
www.pi-media.co.uk I July 2016
The U.S. does not have an overall strategy to deal with the turmoil in Libya, President Barack Obama’s pick to lead the military operation in Africa. Marine Lt. Gen. Thomas Waldhauser appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee and laid out AFRCIOM’s objectives in helping to stabilize the UN-brokered interim Government of National Accord and to disrupt ISIL presence in Libya. But, he said, “I’m not aware of an overall grand strategy at this point.” That comment drew criticism form committee chairman John McCain who lambasted the Barack Obama administration for what he said was
failure to handle crises Washington face across the globe. McCain characterized Obama’s Libya policy as “another disgraceful chapter in the history of this administration” saying the U.S. walked away from Libya after striking the country with NATO in order to remove Col. Muammar Gaddafi from leadership in 2011. Noting some gains by Libyans against ISIL, Waldhauser said they couldn’t be considered as a consolidated success because tribal allegiances have the potential to shift in a war-torn country. According to the general, Misratan militia, a group based in Misrata and, Petroleum Facilities Guard Forces, a
militia set up with the support of the Government of National Accord to protect Libya’s oil assets, are fighting against ISIL in Sirte. He said that the African Command is watching the fight and may produce a support plan if it sees consolidated progress. American warplanes have struck ISIL targets in Libya three times in the past, the general said, but the U.S. is not flying missions above the country or going after ISIL in Libya or the region due to a lack of presidential authority. While agreeing with the need for more U.S. troops on the ground, he also said it would be “wise to have that authority” to strike ISIL because it would contribute to the efforts against the militant group in Libya. Waldhauser also told lawmakers that the Nigeria-based Boko Haram militant group is a concern because he believes it “will ultimately move out of the region, perhaps to the continent, and perhaps ultimately to the homeland as the ISIL brand.” Boko Haram last year pledged allegiance to ISIL, rebranding itself as ISIL in West Africa. Waldhauser said African Command is providing intelligence and training to a regional alliance fighting Boko Haram.
Hamas condemned the election of Israeli ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon to chair the organization’s legal committee. In a press release, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that the appointment rewards Israel for its terrorism and encourages the occupation to commit more crimes against the Palestinian people. The Israeli nomination came through the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) in the UN whose turn it was to name the next chairman of the committee. The United Nations General Assembly has six committees that
report to it. The Legal Committee oversees issues related to international law and is the primary forum for the consideration of legal matters in the General Assembly. Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour criticised the regional group for putting forward Danon’s candidacy, saying he was divisive and unworthy of the task. “They should have advanced a very responsible qualified candidate and not a big violator of international law,” Mansour told reporters. Yemen’s Ambassador Khaled Alyemany, who heads the Arab
Group at the United Nations, said he had sent a message to all memberstates to protest the election of the Israeli ambassador. “We cannot accept that a country like Israel, violator of international law and humanitarian law and the last colonial force existing in the world, has the right to rule on all legal affairs,” said Alyemany. Israel’s candidacy was backed by the United States and European countries. Chairing the committee grants the Israeli occupation a higher profile in routine affairs at the United Nations. www.pi-media.co.uk
Palestinian condemns Israeli UN appointment
I July 2016
WORLD NEWS I 19
UNICEF slams treatment of refugee children in Germany
The UN children’s organization UNICEF published a report decrying the circumstances of refugee children in Germany. According to the report, refugee children not only have far lower standards of safety, medical treatment and education than their German-born counterparts, but are also treated very differently depending on their prospects for
being allowed to stay in Germany. “Refugee children have often survived horrors and brutal violence. For this reason they need special protection and care,” said German UNICEF chief Christian Schneider. The report accused the German government of negligence in the face of Europe’s unprecedented refugee crisis. The organization had already
pointed out in 2014, UNICEF said, that the rights of migrant children were not being respected, and the recent influx of refugees has served to make the situation much worse. Not only do refugee youth lack access to the education afforded to German children, the amount of time they have to stay with their families in unsafe and unsanitary first arrival centers has doubled from the minimum three months to half a year. This creates a problem for children’s integration when they eventually start school in Germany. UNICEF also took issue with that it called “special facilities” set aside for families with a low chance of remaining in Germany. The children in these facilities may not go to school nor do they receive any other sort of educational opportunity. The organization called on Berlin to implement refugee children’s rights to be in a safe, a hygienic environment with access to learning and the psychological assistance necessary to many young people who have experienced trauma in their country of origin.
Turkey’s Representation to the EU returned the European Parliament’s Turkey Progress Report over its request for recognition of the Armenian “genocide”. The report, which the EP passed in April by 375 votes in favor and 133 against, arrived at Turkey’s permanent Representation to the EU. According to diplomatic sources from the delegation speaking anonymously due to restrictions on speaking with the media, the report
was returned over its remarks calling for recognition of the 1915 events as “genocide”. Turkey also returned a previous report in spring 2015 for the same reason. Turkey denies the alleged Armenian “genocide”, but acknowledges that there were casualties on both sides during the events during World War I. In Turkey’s view, the deaths of Armenians in eastern Anatolia in
1915 occurred after some sided with invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of Armenians resulted in numerous casualties. Turkey describes the 1915 events as a tragedy for both sides. Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia plus international experts to tackle the issue.
Turkey returns EP report over ‘genocide’ request
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Indian School in trouble for ‘banning’ Islamic dress 20I WORLD NEWS
The students of Delhi Public School in Srinagar protesting against the administration for allegedly banning the wearing of ‘Abaya.’ The issue went public when a teacher was allegedly asked by DPS principal Kusum Warikoo to “choose between her job and the dress code.” An alleged move of the Delhi Public School (DPS) in Srinagar, to disallow the ‘Abaya’, a loose overgarment, on the campus, snowballed into a major controversy last month
www.pi-media.co.uk I July 2016
with the government and civil society groups criticising the school administration. “It is serious and would be taken up with the school administration. People here have all the freedom to choose their private lives. Our State is not France where the government or some institute decides what people should wear,” State Education Minister Naeem Akhtar said in the Assembly. Earlier, Independent legislator
Engineer Rashid raised the issue in the Assembly. “The mindless action amounts to cultural aggression. Wearing veil is important for Muslim women and the ban is a clear attempt to snatch religious rights and trespass into one’s faith,” said Mr. Rashid. Many teachers told The Hindu that wearing ‘Abaya’, which goes with a head scarf, has been discouraged on the school premises for a long time now. The issue went public when a teacher was allegedly asked by DPS principal Kusum Warikoo to “choose between her job and the dress code”, fuelling a daylong protest by students inside the D.P. Dhar Trust-run school. The students were asking the school to get back the teacher, who was allegedly forced to resign. Despite repeated attempts, the DPS administration could not be reached. Hurriyat faction chairman Syed Ali Geelani Sahab demanded unconditional apology from the school. “J&K is a Muslim- majority State and objecting to the Islamic dress code could have very serious consequences,” said Mr. Geelani.
work together not just for refugees but for the collective human interest is what’s being tested today,” he said in a statement. The number of people displaced globally rose by 5.8 million through 2015, according to the U.N. figures. The U.N. said that one out of every 113 people on the planet was now either internally displaced or a refugee. That marks “a level of risk for
which UNHCR knows no precedent”, the agency said, noting that the number of people displaced is now higher than the populations of Britain or France.
Record 65 million people displaced worldwide: UN
The United Nations said that the number of people displaced worldwide has hit a new record, with 65.3 million people forced from their home as of the end of 2015. The figures, released on World Refugee Day, underscore twin pressures fuelling an unprecedented global displacement crisis. “This is the first time that the threshold of 60 million has been crossed,” UNHCR agency said. As conflict and persecution force growing numbers of people to flee, anti-migrant political sentiment has strained the will to resettle refugees, UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi said. “The willingness of nations to
I July 2016
WORLD NEWS I 21
UN says Syrian towns being shelled after aid deliveries www.pi-media.co.uk
The UN said it was concerned about a new trend of shelling in Syria before and after humanitarian aid convoys reached besieged towns and cities.
UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura told a General Assembly plenary in New York: “There has been a trend in the last weeks that the very areas where there has
been a breakthrough in delivering humanitarian aid to besieged areas have been then shelled, before and after the convoys have reached or departed. That has been bad news.” Indicating his hope to resume Syria peace talks, de Mistura said: “For the first time, frankly at this stage, all sides accepted the need for a political transition.” Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on prodemocracy protests – which erupted as part of the ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings – with unexpected ferocity. Since then, more than a quarter of a million people have been killed and more than 10 million displaced across the war-torn country, according to the UN. However, the Syrian Center for Policy Research has put the death toll from the six-year conflict at more than 470,000 people.
Muslim students in Denmark banned from praying In Case You Missed It
Students at a school for health care and education in Denmark have been told they cannot pray during working hours because “religion and education do not belong together”. A Muslim student from SOPU Hillerød, which is in Northern Copenhagen, highlighted the ban in a photograph which was posted on Facebook by a friend and received hundreds of likes. In the picture, the woman held a sign which read: “New from the director. May one pray at SOPU Hillerød? The answer is NO!” Inger Margrethe Jensen, the schools director, confirmed the
decision, saying: “We have reminded our students about it and reprinted our code of conduct because we have had some incidents that required that we brush up on things,” Dutch newspaper BT reported. “Some [students] wanted to establish a prayer room on school property and the Muslims’ prayers have become far more visible because in some cases and they have used the hallways to pray. Religion and education don’t belong together – it belongs to the private life. “We’ve been asked why they
can’t pray at specific times because there are some Islamic directions that one should pray at specific times and it is unfortunate because it just adds more fuel to the fire on ‘Islamism’.” Mia Victoria Lunderød Hansen, a student at the school who posted the image of her friend to her Facebook page, said: “We students don’t think this is right and therefore we’ve gone around the school collecting signatures.” “A situation like this should be taken care of [because] we believe that everyone should be treated equally.”
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Kuwait sues IOC for $1bn over Olympic ban 22I
Kuwait is seeking $1 billion in damages from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for banning the country from international competitions, state news agency KUNA reported. The IOC suspended Kuwait in October 2015, accusing the government of interference in its national Olympic Committee.
www.pi-media.co.uk I July 2016
The ban is unlikely to be lifted before the Rio Games which start on Aug. 5, meaning Kuwaiti athletes would only be allowed to compete under the Olympic flag. Kuwait’s minister of information and youth said that Kuwait “is taking the International Olympic Committee to the Swiss courts for damages amounting to $1 billion as a result
of the IOC’s unjustifiable decision to suspend the Kuwait Olympic Committee,” KUNA said. “It is totally unacceptable that Kuwait is treated in this unfair way and is barred from international sports activities without conducting an appropriate investigation,” the minister, Sheikh Salman al-Hmoud al-Sabah, was quoted as saying at a banquet night. The IOC had given Kuwait until Oct. 27 to change legislation it said challenged the independence of the country’s Olympic committee and sports associations but Kuwait took no action. The ban means the country’s Olympic Committee and consequently its athletes are not eligible for any funding from the IOC for the duration of the suspension. Kuwait was suspended in 2010 over a similar dispute but reinstated before the 2012 London Olympics. The national soccer federation was also banned by FIFA this month over government interference in the running of the Kuwaiti FA.
Football grassroots funding for Jewish-Arab coexistence Six Israeli grassroots initiatives have been awarded €22,000 worth of grants to fund football projects seeking to promote diversity, tolerance and coexistence between Jews and Arabs. Projects include Hapoel Orani joint training sessions for JewishArab youth, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Tayybe youth teams cooperation on projects encouraging coexistence and respect, Maccabi Achi Arara anti-racism activities, Nahal Alexander NGO mixed matches for Jewish and Arab youth from the Sharon and Triangle region, State of football coexistence activities
for amateur footballers in Lod and Megiddo Sports Club of Peace and Brotherhood initiatives for Jews and Arabs. The funding initiative is part of a collaboration between the Fare member New Israel Fund (NIF) anti-racism campaign Kick It Out Israel, the Israeli Football Association (IFA) and the Israeli PFA to help and encourage coexisting projects in Israel until the end of the 2016/17 season. IFA CEO Rotem Kamer said: “This joint initiative is another important layer towards our goal of creating a football clean from violence and
racism, and based on respect, equality, and unity. Football was and will continue to be a bridge for connection, tolerance, coexistence, and shared life here. This is our way to encourage and to support those taking part in this initiative and are working to unite Israeli society and Israeli football and not to deepen rifts. I expect continued involvement and even more great initiatives.” The announcement was made during a special ceremony at the Israeli State Cup Final between Maccabi Haifa and Maccabi Tel Aviv in Jerusalem.
Denmark announced refugee football league www.pi-media.co.uk
SPORT I 23
I July 2016
Refugees and asylum-seekers living in centres in eastern Denmark will compete against each other in a refugee-only football league aimed at facilitating integration intosociety through sport and competition. The pilot project is the idea of Per Bjerregaard, former chairman of the top-flight Danish club Brondby IF, and results of a collaboration between the Danish Football Association (DBU), Red Cross Denmark and the humanitarian Tryg Foundation to ease integration of the refugees
arriving in the Nordic country. Asylliga, the Asylum League, is due to kick-off in August with the help of Danish football names including former Danish national team manager Morten Olsen and exCeltic midfielder Morten Wieghorst, who agreed to help with coaching the players. “Asylum seekers can get exercise and variety in their daily lives, and get easier access to other Danes and associations in Denmark. In this way we can facilitate integration through
Sonny Bill stays with All Blacks for 2019 World Cup Cross-code superstar Sonny Bill Williams confirmed he will stay with the All Blacks until late 2019, rejecting lucrative offers from overseas clubs and rugby league to chase his third World Cup title. Williams, who is currently playing Rugby Sevens with hopes of snaring a medal at the Rio Olympics, said he wanted to remain part of the All Blacks’
winning culture. “I love winning, I love the highpressure environment. I don’t know if I could get that overseas,” the 30-year-old told reporters. The three-year contract is his longest commitment to the All Blacks and coach Steve Hansen said it would give him the chance to etch his name in union’s honour roll.
football.” explained Bjerregaard. In its first edition, the UEFAbakced project will be based in four refugee centres in Avnstrup, Dianalund, Kalundborg and Korsor, but the organisers plan to make of it a nationwide initiative in the future. In the longer term, the goal is for the players to join regular Danish soccer clubs and play alongside Danish players. Kasper Koch, the head of strategy and project development at Red Cross Asylum, said the project will help create opportunities for asylumseekers to stay in Denmark and find jobs. “Being part of an association is a huge key to getting a residence permit and to integration,” said Koch. “You can also build a good network through sport, and we know that about three quarters of all jobs come through personal networks.” In 2015, Denmark accepted a total of 20,000 refugees. Earlier this year the country was criticised for its harsh stance toward refugees and its newly adopted antirefugee policies.
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DAMAGE TO PROPERTY
West Yorkshire Police now recognise that some victims of hate crime are targeted because of their religion ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������
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DON’T ALLOW HATE TO WIN
REPORT IT TO THE POLICE
If you experience any form of Islamophobia, report it to the police. It is crucial that you report any kind of hate, whether it is physical, damage to property, graffiti or verbal abuse.
of British Muslims surveyed by the British Crime Survey had experienced Islamophobia.
IN AN EMERGENCY CALL: 999
HATE CRIME HELPLINE: �
Where can I find out more? Email: email@example.com or Call (0113) 2773330
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Building Bridges is a project developed by the Hamara Centre (www.hamara.org.uk), funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (www.jrct.org.uk) to address Islamophobia across Leeds.
The Islamic Caliphate in a Historical Context
I July 2016
The early Islamic state took shape under extraordinary circumstances which we shall discuss in the forthcoming editions of this publication. However, in order to understand how the great Arab and Islamic caliphates came to dominate world civilisation, it is important to analyse the significance of the period prior to the emergence of Islam in the 7th century. The Arabs prior to the emergence of Islam were to all intents and purposes labelled the sick man of the Middle East due to a host of reasons. For centuries, the Arabs had been a people who had a proud culture and tradition but lacked nationhood and more importantly access to the reins of power. In terms of the economy, the Arabs did not even possess their own currency let alone its own unique financial system and instead were heavily interdependent on the Byzantine currency creating a dire financial situation in the form of punishing taxes and rising prices as
far as everyday commodities were concerned. Life for the ordinary Arab was very difficult in terms of making ends meet and hence many tribal chiefs sent trade expeditions to various parts of the Arabian peninsula to earn a livelihood. Furthermore from military perspective, the Arabs power to a large extent had been curtailed due to be sandwiched between the two superpowers of the day namely the Byzantine Empire that held sway over modern day Turkey and Syria and the Sassanids who had Persian and Central Asia firmly under control. The Sassanids and the Byzantine Empire to a great extent displayed shrewdness in terms of planning and executing the occupation of the Arabian Peninsula by refusing to impose direct rule over the Arabs. Instead, both empires chose to use Arab intermediaries such as the Ghassanids (Arab Christian tribe) and the Lakhmids (Banu Lakhm) to maintain control over the Arab populace. This policy served the
superpowers well as it checked and subdued the ambitions of the Arabs furthermore ensuring that they were permanently divided by having the Arab proxies doing their bidding. In conclusion, we see that the Arabs were very much limited in terms of independence from the outset until the advent of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula. The arrival of the Prophet Muhammad and the introduction of Islam not as a religion but as a way of live were to change the fortunes of the Arabs forever taking them from the backwaters of ignorance to being the shining lights of global civilisation immortalised in history forever.
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Published on Jun 30, 2016
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